Last Word First:
You cannot look at the new E-Class Mercedes without thinking S-Class.
This all-new 2106 model grabs this competitive segment and shakes it to a magnitude 8 on the Richter Scale.
Beautifully crafted on the outside and simply delicious internally, my E-Class test car was powered by their new 2.0 litre diesel, which heralds a new generation for this Star Car brand. There’s no questioning its luxury offerings, its internal sense of serenity and its overall drive quality. This new E-Class is the business.
Make: Mercedes Benz, Model: E-Class, Body: 4-door Saloon, Trim Levels: Avantgarde, Exclusive and AMG Line, Test Car Trim: AMG Line, Engine: 220d, Transmission: 9G-tronic Automatic, Power: 194bhp, Torque: 400Nm, CO2 Rating: 112g/km, Tax Band: A4, Annual Car Tax: €190, Boot Space: 540litres, Intro Price: E220d Avantgarde Automatic at €52,850 ex works, Test Car Price: E220d AMG Line: from €57,650, E350d version starts at €66,900. Test Car Price: €60,492.
Some of the Competition: Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Lexus GS, Jaguar XF, and Volvo S90
Most people will double-take on first sight of the new tenth-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Standing 43mm longer, with a 65mm longer wheelbase, my AMG trimmed test car housed its large star in the centre of its two-bar grill, easily causing a lap of honour to check its segment placing. Indeed such is the-easy-on-the-eye styling of this latest Mercedes, those seeking a more introvert face on the E-Class can opt for the conventional star on the bonnet and plain grill.
My AMG Line test car wore 245.45x19” tyres on very nice five-spoke rims, its chrome accents around the body bringing your eyes to the area and contrasting elegantly against the paintwork – the twin chrome-rimmed exhausts built into the body. Lovely.
Adjectives can easily run riot on opening the door of this new E-Class. Suffice to say that it works on every sensory level, visually, touch, smell and sound, taste is confirmed in your choice of purchase and should you choose the option of two high-resolution 12.3inch display screens, you enter the realm of Starship Enterprise.
The combination of metals, wood and leather work wonderfully, reminding you and all who enter, that you are in the company of a ‘Class’ act. Add in heated armrests in the doors and centre console and a choice of sixty-four interior LED lighting colours, personalising your new E-Class is a given.
The basic 8.4” centre console screen displays the E-Class’s entertainment and comfort systems via well-crafted mouse and click unit located between the two front heated seats, with the other options of using voice command or the sensitive touch-swipe buttons on the steering wheel. Mobile phones with the inductive charge facility can be charged and connected with no need for cables or a phone holder.
One feature on this 2016 E-Class that will impress all your friends is an application on your phone that allows you to remotely manoeuvre it without being inside. Ideal for those parking times where you are blocked from opening your door, this automated feature allows you move the car in and out of those tight situations.
Mercedes-Benz call this system Drive Pilot, which depending on your option choice, contains the key functions of remote parking, guidance, speed limiter, braking, acceleration, gear changing and forward hazard anticipation plus corrective action, are amongst those that can be carried out automatically, depending on model and options choice.
Customers choosing the entry-level Avantgarde variant get some €7,000 worth of standard features compared to the model it replaces. Included is Parking Pilot parking assist, heated front seats, full leather upholstery, reversing camera, LED static lights, satellite navigation, mirror pack, ambient lighting, stowage pack, ‘through loading’ feature, seat comfort pack, alarm pack and a ‘connect me’ function.
Driver Assistance Systems include as standard Active Brake Assist, Attention Assist and Crosswind Assist, which mitigates the effects of strong crosswinds and heretofore first seen on their Sprinter van.
One very interesting option amid the 2106 E-Class’s Driver Assistance systems is one that moves the driver or front passenger away from the danger zones when an imminent lateral collision is detected. Another safety innovation is a sound warning that triggers reflexes and prepares occupants if the risk of a collision is detected.
On the Road:
Mercedes-Benz has chosen the E-Class to be their showcase carriage for advanced automated driving systems, none of which should necessarily entice you to purchase. But when put together with the high level of design, finish and on road performance, it needs to be taken seriously. Much will be made of the automation available on the E-Class, and rightly it deserves acknowledgement.
Allied to the E-Class’s new €2 billion engine, is their very decent chassis, suspension and focus on providing a serenity to every drive. Drivers looking to fire the E-Class into corners and bends with abandon are missing out on the car's true character.
This new E-Class does a great job in isolating the outside world from within. Driven with deliberation and thought it can be driven very progressively, definitely preferring the slow in- fast out approach to bends. I like the 9G-Tronic gearbox, particularly through the downhill twisties, where I can select a suitable gear through the paddle-shift and control the car without dancing continually on the brakes. Used as a cross-country choice, the E-Class is excellent company, delivering me to my destination after a 350km run with no stress whatsoever. My fuel usage over my test drive was 5.5litres/100km.
Leaving aside the Mercedes E-Class’s autonomous systems, the star on the bonnet and its giddy factor, don’t be dissuaded from putting this high up on your test car list. This smooth designed, well-equipped and superbly finished car drives well and offers comfort and surroundings of the highest quality. Drive it.